Ancient Roman Inventions We Still Use Today

Ancient Roman Inventions We Still Use Today

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Not many people know that Roman inventions have defined the way we live and the civilization that modern world has today. Throughout the course of history, the ancient Roman civilization had set up the foundation of civilizations. It had changed people’s way of life – designed to make life easier and more enduring, minimizing the possibility of obstacles and hindrances. After all, it seemed to be highly possible that time, considering that there were many things to discover and invent.

When we are talking about the ancient Rome, we basically are talking about a civilization that has created a name of its own. Many of its inventions had changed human development and nature. In fact, many of the inventions happening during Roman times had shaped its civilization – which affected today’s world and innovations. They were inventions, nonetheless, changing the existing technology. That’s why there are some of the Roman inventions, invented during the ancient times that are still used in today’s present era. They had given shape to the modern civilization and changed the contemporary world we know today.


10. Arches

Arches
Arches

You probably don’t know this but arches are one of the many Roman inventions dated back to the ancient time. The first usage of this architectural shape and innovation had predated back within the earliest time of Roman civilization. Later on, the arch has become a part of the innovation and crucial structure in the architectural industry. It is difficult to imagine what the modern architectural and construction world would be without the invention of arches.

The Romans had made the crucial changes within the construction so it could fit in the designing schemes. Romans were the first one finding out a method to construct an arch shape on the top area of two pedestals, creating an effect that spans over the walkway and also highways. Thanks to the Romans, the arches have transformed into a crucial engineering construction that set up the foundation for many of the structural phenomenon and highlights. Because of these arches, they could create bridges, sewers, the Colosseum, aqueducts, and also amphitheaters. The peak of these Roman arches was found later during the Middle Ages. At that time the buildings, such as cathedrals, were grandeur and majestic – thanks to the arches. In fact, it was the only method that people knew at that time to roof a building – and they didn’t need to construct any support beams to do so.


9. Grid Based City

Grid Based City
Grid Based City

Although the Romans weren’t the one starting this grid based constructions and cities, they were the ones that actually embraced the concept, implemented it, and then added a new dimension along the way. The grid base system had dated back to Harappa and Mahjong Daro, and then the Romans adopted the concept – even putting the practice to a big scale implementation. They were the ones that had implemented the settlements and made it popular. The basic grid system had this characteristic of square or rectangular form in almost perfect orthogonal layout – implemented for streets.

The 2 main streets: decumanus and cardo, would be crossing each other within the right angle on the grid’s center. The grid itself was basically an ideal structure to manage and organize various city components, like theaters, stores, and housings so they can create a block-form structure. And to make it interesting, so the block arrangement won’t be too monotonous, the ancient Romans included different variants, like public baths, open theaters, markets, and other facilities inside the grid. They then continued to make this pattern standard for settlement by building military camps along colonial cities on their entire (huge) empire – starting from Britain to North Africa. They also had settlements in the entire Eastern region of Mediterranean and Italy. This is one of the many Roman inventions that is considered an effective solution for settlement management and arrangement.


8. Sanitation and Sewers

Sanitation and Sewers
Sanitation and Sewers

Despite their existence in ancient time, Roman Empire had managed to create and incorporate a sophisticated sewage system and also sanitary management. In fact, their systems were considered quite advanced and modern. They managed to create and establish several latrines, public baths, and also a linking system with the interlinked sewage line. Surprisingly, they managed to create a complex system and yet efficient engineering feat. Rome, as well as other major cities, had experienced a complex and extensive drain and sewer network running along the side area of the streets. The water was quite abundant, thanks to the aqueduct systems. When this water was combined with the runoff water (coming from the local streams), they managed to flush the sewers and drains.

When flushed, all of the waste would be dumped into the closest river in the city (generally the Tiber). It was probably not the best sanitary solution or method, but it is definitely better than leaving the sewage scattered on the streets. The Romans were quite good in using covered sewer lines and gutter, connecting houses within the city.Because of this, the Romans were considered quite clever and smart in managing their sanitation and sewage system. In fact, this has made the ancient Romans smart and a forerunner in such a sanitary practice around the world. This is one of several of some Roman inventions that inspire the sanitary system today.


7. Highways and Roads

Highways and Roads
Highways and Roads

The ancient Roman Empire was vast and wide, and yet they managed to create an effective and impeccable administration system. It turned out that one of their secrets was the road’s effective and sophisticated system. Their system was one of the most sophisticated one during the ancient era. In fact, Romans highways and roads had played an important role within Roman state rise. Because of the expanse and vast roads, the Romans were able to connect spots and locations. The highways expanded over Roman Empire and Roman Republic. They were able to build paved highways stretching over 55,000 miles within their 700 years of existence. The highways went across Europe and around Mediterranean basin. This was effective to make sure of efficient and fast movement – whether it is information, soldiers, or goods across the empire. It was pretty general for Roman roads to follow a straight line and route along the countryside so the travel was running fast and efficient. Thanks to these engineered routes (that were expertly designed and implemented), everything was easy to manage and navigate. The ancient Romans were the first civilization using the mile markers and road signs. They were also the ones making sure that all highways (or at least the majority) were well patrolled and protected.


6. Aqueducts

Aqueducts
Aqueducts

One among many of genius Roman inventions was the aqueducts. Back then, when the Roman Republic and Empire were still on power, the Romans managed to enjoy many facilities. It wouldn’t be possible if they hadn’t mastered the engineering techniques to build aqueducts. The aqueducts were used to tap water from springs, rivers, and other water reservoirs. The first aqueduct was set upin 312 BC. It was proven to be an engineering feat and marvel. The concept was simple and yet very smart and efficient.

The aqueduct would use the downhill water flow to finally reach the city centers. The whole network depended on different factors and elements, but they creatively (and smartly) used the gravity. It was designed to maintain the constant and continuous flow. If you think of it, this engineering concept was quite sophisticated and marvelous for its time. When the water finally reached the city, usually the bigger ones such as Rome, it would be accommodated and contained inside a big reservoir. From there, the water would be connected and channeled to public toilets, fountains, private villas, and baths. These places could tap inside the network and gain the water access. This system was very effective and good that it turned into the icon for visible symbol of water system. It had become a proof for Roman’s innovation and engineering, and how it could be super effective despite the ancient system.


5. Roman Numerals

Roman Numerals
Roman Numerals

Among the many Roman inventions, Roman numerals began during ancient Roman time. This is basically one of the most important inventions made by the Romans – without it, we won’t have any numbering system. This popular system dated back to the years in between 900 BC and 800 BC. They already had their existing counting and number systems, but those systems couldn’t keep up with the increasing calculation standards and requirements. The numerals were created and developed to serve the needs of standard counting system that could be used in trade and communications efficiently. However, the Roman numbers had their own downsides, like the absence of zero or the inability to calculate the fractions.

Despite the downsides, the numbers were proven to be quite effective. It survived the era and even the times after the Roman Empire had fallen. Their usages and functions in cornerstones, movie titles, and other modern cultural and popular references have shown their efficiency and long lasting legacy of the numeral notation.


4. Surgery Techniques and Tools

Surgery Techniques and Tools
Surgery Techniques and Tools

The ancient Romans contributed to the modern world several surgical techniques and tools. They may not be used until today but their existence had pioneered the development of surgery and medicine, in a retrospect. It was the ancient Greeks that had inspired and affected the Roman medical advances. Ancient Roman medical practitioners had utilized the available tools they had, but they had also managed to develop many of the tools. They had devised the tools efficiently, making those equipment and tools useful in many medical scenarios. For instance, they had managed to use the Cesarean section.

Their biggest achievement was related to battlefield surgery through medical remedy and preparedness – they thought of it as the biggest concern and importance. During the ruling of Augustus, the military medical fleets was created and set up to help the injured soldiers during battles. The Romans mastered medical technologies and innovations to handle blood loss in war right away, leading to thousands of lives being saved. The ancient Romans were able to invent tools like bone drills, forceps, obstetrical hooks,vaginal speculum, and bronze scalpels. The Romans were also said to pioneer the very beginning use of antiseptic surgery by dipping medical tools inside a hot water. It was created to disinfect those tools before the procedure.


3. Julian Calendar

Julian Calendar
Julian Calendar

Among the many Roman inventions that inspired today’s creations and inventions, the Julian calendar was one of the biggest achievements that they had ever made. When the ancient Roman had been included as a part of the biggest ancient Western civilizations ever existed, they realized that a standard calendar knowledge and application on the entire empire was crucial. They had tried imposing months with odd day numbers only (because they had a superstition for even numbers), but such a system didn’t work. Because the calendar was getting chaotic and complicated, Julius Caesar finally implemented a new system. He made the solar year duration as the calendar basis. Moreover, he also created a system where they had 12 months within a year. Because it was Julius Caesar who created the system, the calendar was given name after him.

Thanks to this system, some Orthodox churches in the east hadused it to measure and calculate holidays. Despite the seemingly flawless creation and invention, Julian calendar somewhat miscalculated the year (solar year) by 11.5 minutes. Because of this, the Gregorian calendar was created. However, this Gregorian calendar was inspired by the Juliancalendar. The Gregorian calendar was used in 1582 AD.


2. Newspaper

Newspaper
Newspaper

It was Rome that first started the sophisticated communication system through the invention of newspaper. After all, the course of history had autocrats who wanted to maintain the official developments and announcements so the public will remain within the loop about such information. For that matter, the ancient Roman Empire published Acta Diurnal or “Daily Events”. The news sheets were handwritten and published on the daily basis. The government posted them in Roman Forum, lasting from 59 BC to 222 AD.

The contents were usually about military campaigns, trials, major scandals, political happenings, executions, and others. Romans also published Acta Senatus containing the recorded Roman Senate proceedings. This publication, however, was not accessible by the public. But later, when Julius Caesar reformed the system, he made it accessible for everyone, including the public. ActaDiurnal might not be similar to the modern newspaper (which was first introduced in Europe), but it had created a basic concept of publishing – as well as the pioneer in the industry.


1. Concrete

Concrete
Concrete

The Romans were especially very skillful in building new structures as well as maintaining the structural built and integrity. The concrete is one of the many ancient Roman inventions that are still in used until today. It was the Romans who developed the revolutionary concrete to create lasting and impeccable formation. The concrete was quite important in ancient Rome’s architectural grandeur.

Scientists studying the composition had found a remarkable fact that the composition was very detailed and superior to this very day. And somewhat, the concrete was environmentally friendlier than the modern one. The concrete type they have been studying had been submerged for 2000 years in Mediterranean. Moreover, the compound was different from the one we have today – thus, making it super stable. The ancient Romans liked to mix the volcanic rocks (called tuff) and cement. That’s why the concrete was resistant to chemical decay. The same reason also applied to the long lasting effect of Colosseum and Pantheon – which had been standing proud and strong for 2 millennia.


Final Words

Because of these inventions, the ancient Romans were able to differentiate themselves from their rival, the ancient Greeks. The Romans had proven themselves to the world that they were able to create new innovations and inventions that had inspired the modern technology. Thanks to them, we learned about the aqueducts or the calendar or the numbering system. Some of their technologies might have been forgotten but they have inspired us to be creative in finding new ways of living, governing, and understanding the globe through some of their classic and timeless ancient Roman Empire inventions.

Tags: roman inventions, ancient roman invention, roman empire inventions, roman inventions we use today, list of roman inventions

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